Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nourishing Wednesdays – Building Community From the Ground Up

Could I become a vegetarian?

Last fall when I was reading Farm Sanctuary by Gene Bauer and Prop 2, the humane treatment for animals bill, was on the California ballot, I wondered if I could become a vegetarian. I was really disturbed by what our food system had come to. But did I care enough about animals to take that final step?

Then I read a blog post by Rabbi Julian Sinclair from the Jewish Climate Initiative about being present at the kosher slaughtering of a turkey at the Hazon Food Conference in December. Hazon is all about knowing where your food, whether from animals or plants, comes from. Facing the truth.

Gulp. I have no qualms about hacking a homegrown tomato with a serrated-edged knife, but did I really want to test my green commitment in this extreme manner?

I care about the CO₂levels from meat production. We’ve just come off the longest January heat wave in SoCal since 1983. The weather folks keep promising us rain. My president has asked for my service, my continued political involvement. Could simply ending my meat eating be my statement?

Could I become a vegetarian?

Probably not. I like my meat moments too much to make the switch. Yet, the challenge continues to call out to me. Why? The truth? Well, my cholesterol is a tad high.

Yeah, it all comes down to money and pain. Like all the newly frugal, it’s not till it hits you in your own face that you change your evil ways.

So I’ve pulled out all my cookbooks checking for the recipes, stocked up on grains like bulgur, buckwheat groats and millet in bulk. I’m researching reusable bags for grains and nuts and surfed the Web to make sure I know how to combine my foods so my vitamin levels are AOK. And I found this nifty little Vegetarian Starter Kit, from Vegetarian Times.

But I’m not a convert yet!

The plan is more veggies, more grains, more nuts, and just smaller meat portions and more meatless meals. I know I can do this because this is our family food pattern anyway, only I guess the protein portions must have been on the too big side for my aging Boomer Body.

Plus I want to try something that Mark Bittman, the New York Times food columnist came up with: eat breakfast and lunch as a vegan and dinner the regular way. Or as he calls it, ‘Vegan till 6’. Check out his new book, Food Matters or a video from his book tour.

And supposedly I’ll lose weight too. Save money, the planet and my waistline? Okay, I’m in.

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